Shanda, Motorola Team Up for Mobile Gaming

Chinese online game operator Shanda Interactive Entertainment signed a deal with Motorola to launch mobile versions of two online games, the companies announced Friday.

The two mobile games, "World of Legend" and "Magical Land," are not new games, but extensions of the PC version of the online games. They will be preloaded on a version of Motorola’s E680 handset, the E680g. Users will be able to move game items, such as weapons and points, from their PCs to the mobile phone, the companies said.

The E680g is a tri-band PDA phone that uses a stylus for input and supports General Packet Radio Service networks. The handset weighs 133 grams and has a thin film transistor liquid crystal display screen with a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. The phone includes mobile versions of Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint programs, as well as a secure digital memory card slot.

Shanda, once China’s top online game operator, has seen rivals The9 and Netease.com overtake its position. The9 operates the Chinese version of "World of Warcraft" while Netease.com offers "Fantasy Westward Journey," currently the two most popular games in China.

To keep up, Shanda has moved away from charging users a fee to play its games, relying instead on sales of game items to generate revenue. The company has also looked to broaden its offerings to include a wider range of entertainment services and hardware, such as its EZ Pod media center upgrade for PCs.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue are at stake in China’s online game market. Next year, revenue from online games in China will expand 25 percent to 9.7 billion renminbi (US$1.2 billion), said market analyst firm iResearch.

-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)

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